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Tigers 2024 Spring Training Preview

Parker Meadows high fives his teammates on the Detroit Tigers.

Tigers legend Miguel Cabrera has retired. How will the team fair without him in 2024 in an AL Central that is up for grabs?

The Detroit Tigers went 78-84 in 2023, good enough for second place in the American League Central. After a respectable offseason, the Tigers are poised to pounce in the weakest division in baseball. The Detroit Lions made an inspired playoff run earlier this year, so Detroit is hoping the Tigers follow that path, and not the path of the Detroit Pistons. The biggest adjustment for Detroit fans this year will be remembering that sixteen-year stalwart DH Miguel Cabrera will no longer be in the lineup. As fellow Detroiter Smokey Robinson would tell them, Miggy may have been “the permanent one” and anyone else will be “just a substitute”. Nonetheless, Detroit, try to hide the tracks of your tears if this season takes a turn for the worse.


SP Kenta Maeda

SP Jack Flaherty

RP Shelby Miller

RP Andrew Chafin

3B Gio Urshela

OF Mark Canha

1B Keston Hiura (minors)


1B Miguel Cabrera

SP Eduardo Rodríguez

OF Austin Meadows

SP Spencer Turnbull

INF Tyler Nevin

SP Matthew Boyd

3B Nick Maton

RP José Cisnero

RP Tyler Alexander

SS Zack Short

Offseason Grade: C

Detroit’s poaching of SP Kenta Maeda from divisional rival Minnesota was a great move. Maeda and SP Jack Flaherty are two proven and reliable starters to improve a young rotation. The retirement of Miguel Cabrera leaves a hole in the lineup that was not replaced. Miggy’s skills eroded with age, but he was a feared batter for every pitcher in the league. If nothing else, Tigers fans can look forward to his inevitable induction to the Hall of Fame. Lastly, much like the Twins, the best part of the offseason for the Tigers is the fact that no team in the division separated themselves from the pack. The division is as run down as some of Detroit’s Rust Belt factories.

Báez Bait

SS Javier Báez is the most established name in the lineup. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if the Tigers stay invested in him if the season gets out of hand. Báez is on a four-year, $98 million contract with a ten team no-trade clause. However, at age 31, the Tigers may decide he is worth more as trade bait for future prospects. If the current crop of prospects does not pan out for Detroit, Báez could merit a healthy return, especially if the Tigers eat some of his contract. He has not matched the output of his last All-Star season in 2019, but teams are always in the market for effective shortstops. If Báez gets hot and the team does not, selling while his value is high is something Scott Harris should consider.

Youth: For Better or Worse

The Tigers are the 28th oldest team in the league this year, with an average age of 28.0. The lineup features some especially young players. CF Parker Meadows, RF Riley Greene, 1B Spencer Torkelson, and 2B Colt Keith are all too young to rent a car but are in the starting lineup. The last time Detroit had homegrown talent like this around was when the Supremes burst onto the scene. Manager A.J. Hinch won in Houston with a young roster, but under dubious circumstances. They don’t call them the Houston Asterisks for nothin’, right? Anyways, Hinch was able to work youth into the lineup effectively last season. That trend will need to continue for Detroit to keep pace with a more established Twins lineup. The Cleveland Guardians are on the same plan, so the AL Central will be decided by the team that enjoys the most success from their prospects.

The starting rotation is also young, with Maeda being the only pitcher over the age of 29. The difference between the batters and the pitchers is the Tigers’ pitchers are young but still experienced. For instance, SP Tarik Skubal is 27 but has been a full-time starter since 2020. SP Casey Mize is in a similar boat. Mize is coming off of Tommy John surgery, but his strong spring suggests he can put those concerns in the rearview mirror. This is a position of strength for the Tigers, so they could move pitchers in and out of the rotation to provide rest for those with an injury history.

Opening Day Lineup

1. CF Parker Meadows

2. RF Riley Greene

3. 1B Spencer Torkelson

4. DH Kerry Carpenter

5. LF Mark Canha

6. 2B Colt Keith

7. SS Javier Báez

8. 3B Gio Urshela

9. C Jake Rogers

Bench: C Carson Kelly, UTIL Andy Ibáñez, 3B Zach McKinstry, OF Matt Vierling

Starting Rotation

1. Tarik Skubal

2. Kenta Maeda

3. Jack Flaherty

4. Casey Mize

5. Reese Olson


1. Alex Lange

2. Jason Foley

3. Shelby Miller

4. Andrew Chafin

5. Beau Brieske

6. Tyler Holton

7. Joey Wentz

8. Alex Faedo

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